Unlike Manhattan SAHMs, I never pencil in spas into my schedule. However, I was gifted with a foot massage at the resort where we vacationed, so after a long weekend of roaming the beach with three mermaids, my tired feet and I trudged to our first spa date.
Wind chimes, new age-y soothing music and a soft-spoken masseuse met me at the entrance with a slight bow. She offered a refreshing lemongrass (kalamansi) drink before leading me past a zen-like garden into a private cottage. A plush white-sheeted cot invited me to snuggle in, and I happily complied. A weighted eye mask pressed my eyes shut (not that anyone had to worry about my eyelids fighting off sleep.)
The masseuse worked her muscles on my achy feet for about fifteen minutes before I my mind began to unravel. In the dark, I imagined the night of the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. I saw My Lord and King crouching over a basin, stooping over the water. His gentle eyes held mine and then before I knew it, I was echoing St. Peter and jumping up in embarrassment to protest, “Oh no Lord, do not wash my feet!”
Our Lord replies, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”
That’s when the tear rolled out of my mask. I thought back on all those times I was served and I wept and wept in gratitude. I grew up with nannies running after me, cooks who prepared meals, chauffeurs to shuffle me back and forth to school, maids to do the cleaning and the laundry. For many years, I took their services and their exhaustion and needs for granted as I acted like a carefree brat. But, after ten years in the States of having to do all those things for my children without a staff to help me, I can now appreciate what Jesus meant:
A life of service is a life with Our Lord.
I miss being served, of course I do. That’s why month long vacations back home are so precious to me. I don’t have to cook, drive, clean, do laundry or even take care of my own children while I’m under my parents’ roof. So when I’m deep in the trenches of stomach flus, hormonal pregnancies and the undone chores buzz at me like a hive of unwanted bees, it’s easy to daydream myself transported to a house where I’m pampered and drive to a beach resort nearby. It’s like my little heaven on earth.
Vacations are grand and it hardly seems fair that it’s so short next to a lifetime of work. But as a disciple, I have to take my part in the Jesus’ road for he also said: “I did not come on earth to be served, but to serve.” There’s plenty of time for heaven in eternity, anyway. While on earth, my mission (and mine alone because I don’t discern for all women), is to follow the footsteps of Our Lady, making a home and serving my family.
When the half hour was done, the masseuse washed the oil off my feet and gently wiped them off with a towel as I surreptitiously wiped off my tears. I changed out of the fragrant spa robe and slipped back into my comfy mommy sundress and flip-flops.
My husband will be the first to tell you that I’ve had enough full body massages for a lifetime of a thousand movie stars. But who knew a mere foot massage could be such a soul searching, emotional experience, where Jesus could bring me to tears? No wonder the Manhatanites can’t live without spas. ;)